Herbal immune tonics may be used to prevent catching a cold or the flu. They act slowly, but have a prolonged effect compared to immune stimulants. Immune tonics have adaptogenic qualities, meaning they help to balance the body to adapt to the physical stresses of a cold or the flu. However, they must be taken prior to the start of cold and flu season. For best results, choose two or three tonics and take them for two to three months. Examples include ginseng root, reishi mushroom, Cordyceps sinensis, Rhodiola rosea and astragalus (also known as milkvetch root).
Immune stimulants are effective for treating short-term, acute infections by increasing immune activity. Start taking these herbs as soon as you think you’re getting sick as the duration of your cold or flu may be reduced. Examples include oregano, goldenseal, elderberry, garlic and echinacea1.
Eat foods rich in vitamins C and D to help keep your immune system functioning well. Fruits high in vitamin C include tangerines, oranges, mangos, kiwis, papayas and goji berries. Foods high in vitamin D include fish, milk, yogurt and eggs. A typical cold will last about 10 days. If you’re not feeling better, continue to be congested or have a sore throat, see a doctor or health care practitioner.
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9.“Overview of the immune system.”
See section on ‘Vitamin C.’ Linus Pauling Institute Micronutrient Information Center. Oregon State University. Retrieved on June 19/15 from http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/micronutrients-health/immunity
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Dietitians of Canada. Retrieved on June 19/15 from http://www.dietitians.ca/Your-Health/Nutrition-A-Z/Vitamins/Food-Sources-of-Vitamin-D.aspx
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National Heath Service. Retrieved on June 19/15 from http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/Cold-common/Pages/Introduction.aspx